Jakob Lazzaro


Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.

Jakob grew up mostly in Charleston, South Carolina, but was born in Stockholm, Sweden and lived in Sydney, Australia for several years in the late 2000s.

Jakob is looking forward to telling important stories in Michiana.

Justin Hicks / WVPE

The South Bend Community School Corporation is hosting an all-day restorative justice dialogue on July 26 to kick off its Restorative Justice Week.

Kathe Streeter, the district’s restorative justice coordinator, said the event will be a conversation on history, race, justice and language.


Notre Dame
Jennifer Weingart / WVPE

A former University of Notre Dame student has filed a lawsuit against the school seeking a refund on tuition and fees for the Spring 2020 semester after classes were moved online due to the pandemic.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has issued an Air Quality Action Day alert for July 23 and 24 covering St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte, Lake and Porter counties. The agency is forecasting high levels of fine particle pollution, or PM 2.5, in the air due to smoke from wildfires in the western United States and southern Canada.

The massive fires this year have been made worse due to extreme heat and drought conditions exacerbated by climate change.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE



Starting this fall, South Bend Community School Corporation teachers will work an additional 40 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays with no salary increase. The district approved the change in early July, arguing it needs the extra minutes to help improve student performance.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE


South Bend is holding a series of public meetings to plan the city’s 2022 budget, and there’s an extra focus on the nearly $59 million in federal dollars the city is getting from the American Rescue Plan Act.

The extra money is about one sixth of the city’s overall annual budget of nearly $350 million, and the city is holding three special public meetings on how to spend it:

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE



A 43-year-old Elkhart man wrongfully convicted in a 2002 murder case has been officially exonerated after the state granted a motion from the Elkhart County prosecutor to dismiss the charges on July 19.

Justin Hicks / WVPE

South Bend Community School Corporation's virtual school program is now enrolling full-time students. Covering kindergarten through grade 12, it was created last year in response to the pandemic.

In a news release, the district said grades nine through twelve will be taught by South Bend Community School Corporation teachers, while kindergarten through eighth grade will use teachers from online learning company Edmentum until the district hires more staff.

La Casa de Amistad


South Bend nonprofit La Casa de Amistad has won a $100,000 grant from the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Initiative. The Latino and immigrant focused youth and community center is the only grant winner in Indiana. 


As part of the company’s 100-year anniversary, Lowe’s is funding 100 projects across the United States through the 100 Hometowns Initiative.


Justin Hicks/WVPE

The South Bend Common Council’s Rules Committee unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to request or subpoena personnel files and other background information on Joshua Reynolds from his time as an Indianapolis and Butler University police officer.

Notre Dame School of Architecture

This spring, students at the Notre Dame School of Architecture developed a plan to reimagine South Bend’s William Street corridor. The city has expressed interest in some elements of the plan, which aims to connect Downtown to the Near West Side. 

Indiana Department of Health

Indiana is seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, and two WVPE listener counties have moved to the “yellow” category, indicating moderate spread of the virus, on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map.


Both Fulton and LaGrange counties are now in the “yellow,” with Fulton receiving an extra alert due to a large number of weekly cases being traced back to close proximity gatherings. All other WVPE listener counties remain in the “blue.”


Justin Hicks/WVPE

South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board director Joshua Reynolds said he is not going to resign following last week’s revelation that he was suspended seven times during his work as an Indianapolis police officer.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Mayor James Mueller wants Joshua Reynolds, the recently hired director of the city’s Community Police Review Board, to resign or be fired, the South Bend Tribune reported July 12.


Justin Hicks / WVPE

South Bend Community School Corporation received $92.7 million in federal elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds. During a July 12 school board meeting, the district outlined plans to use the money for improving academic achievement, funding infrastructure and technology upgrades and supporting teachers.

Indiana Department of Health

The Indiana Department of Health is hosting a free mobile vaccination clinic in Elkhart County next week. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 22 and is located at a Winnebago facility, 201 14th Street in Middlebury.


They are offering both the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine and two-dose Pfizer vaccine.


Justin Hicks/WVPE

According to a July 8 article in the South Bend Tribune, Joshua Reynolds — the recently hired director of South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board — had seven unpaid suspensions during the seven years he was an Indianapolis police officer.

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS


Berrien County is continuing to see low COVID-19 cases. During a July 7 press conference, county health officer Nicki Britten said that on average, they’re seeing less than three cases per day. About three percent of tests are coming back positive, and the county currently has nobody in the ICU with COVID-19.

Britten also said the county has not detected any cases of the highly contagious Delta variant yet, but that does not mean there are none in the area.

South Bend Department of Public Works


South Bend wants to raise water, sewer, stormwater and trash rates 3.5 percent per year over the next five years. The typical resident would see their monthly bills go up about $3 each year until 2026.

Indiana Department of Health


For the first time, all WVPE listener counties are in the “blue” on the Indiana Department of Health’s color-coded COVID-19 tracking map. Blue is the least serious of the state’s four color categories, indicating low spread of the virus. 

Justin Hicks / IPBS News


A driver who hit and killed two Notre Dame students last October has pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts of driving while intoxicated.


Provided by Electric Last Mile Solutions


On June 28, Electric Last Mile Solutions completed its purchase of the old Hummer plant in Mishawaka and went public on the Nasdaq stock exchange at $11.56 a share.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Starting July 6, the St. Joseph County Department of Health's main COVID-19 vaccine clinic is relocating to the main lobby of the County-City building at 227 West Jefferson Boulevard in South Bend.

Photo courtesy of Grant Beachy Photo / Community Foundation of Elkhart County

Better and more-connected trails could soon be coming to Elkhart County with the new Connect in Elkhart County initiative.

The project, which is meant to fill gaps in the county’s trail system to make it easier for residents to commute and exercise safely, is being led by the Community Foundation of Elkhart County’s Placemaking Committee which aims to create open communities throughout the county.

A release from the community foundation says the goal is to use community input to find ways the trail system can create new development opportunities.

Zoom screenshot by Jakob Lazzaro / 88.1 WVPE



Established by the Common Council last fall, South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board is taking applications for membership. To apply, you must be a resident of South Bend and not a sworn law enforcement officer.


But the city hired former Indianapolis police officer Joshua Reynolds as the board’s first director last month. 

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS


Berrien County is now averaging just under five new cases a day, a big decline from the height of the pandemic. Test positivity rates are also low, at around three percent. In addition, Michigan fully reopened on June 22, dropping all capacity restrictions and face mask mandates.


Jakob Lazzaro/WVPE News

A state committee has chosen a charter school to take over South Bend’s Tarkington Elementary School building, which the school board voted to close earlier this year. 

Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Survey results released Monday by the National Weather Service indicate an EF-1 tornado touched down in St. Joseph County near Wyatt early Monday morning as part of the storm that battered the county.

The results show the tornado happened between 2:07 and 2:09 a.m. and had a path that was about a mile long.


Officials say several healthy trees were snapped along the damage path and a barn lost its roof. 


Courtesy of WSBT-TV

One man was killed and four others were injured in a mass shooting early Sunday morning at Heritage Square in Granger.

In a news release, St. Joseph County Metro Homicide said a large crowd was attending a party at a bar in the complex when several shots were fired around 4 a.m. and five people were hit.

Four of them had what were described as non-life threatening injuries but the fifth, 26-year-old Victor Anthwan Kyle, Jr., died as a result of his injuries.

Jakob Lazzaro / 88.1 WVPE


Two years ago at Kelly’s Pub, 11 victims were shot and one, Brandon Williams, was killed.


His sister Tiara Williams said the last two years have been devastating — but ending gun violence is a way to honor his memory.


“Today is not just about my brother,” Williams said. “Today is about gun violence, period.”


Jakob Lazzaro/WVPE News

Council and school board members, as well as South Bend Mayor James Mueller and School Superintendent Todd Cummings, met June 17 to discuss ways to improve education in South Bend.